Churches in the UK have been responding to the coronavirus outbreak both by sending, serving and supporting key workers and through organising programmes to serve most vulnerable in our communities. In this blog, Charlotte Ward from Kings Church Heathfield in East Sussex shares an initiative they’ve been running in partnership with other local churches to help those struggling at this time:
Having been aware of the growing need in our community, and knowing that there was a desire from a number of local churches to do something about it, we got in touch with them to see if they would partner with us on a joined-up service to help those in need. The result was a coronavirus support service we’ve called Happy to Help, and we’ve taken over 200 calls in the first few weeks.
Callers ringing the Happy to Help hotline are matched with church volunteers who are busy picking up prescriptions, running errands and getting shopping for people who are self-isolating. Church members are also being paired with people who are feeling lonely and would like a regular chat. The service is open to everyone, from our market-town of Heathfield and the surrounding villages, whether they are a church-goer or not.
Marcellus Edmonds, elder at Kings Church Heathfield, said: “As Christians we have a great example in Jesus of how to care for the community. Happy to Help is our way of showing God’s love, by offering practical support to those who need it at this challenging time. We’ve had a tremendous response so far and have a team of volunteers ready and able to help.”
Some of the requests have included:
– Delivering new hearing aid batteries to a woman who would have otherwise been deaf
– Getting the right formula to a four-month old baby
– Picking up 162 prescriptions
– Collecting urgent medication for several dogs
– Helping fill out Foodbank forms
– Matching volunteers to people who are feeling lonely and want a regular call
As well as offering practical support to people, we’ve also had the opportunity to pray with several people over the phone and share Bible verses with others. One of our of Church values is be honouring and so it’s been encouraging to be able to making a tangible difference and share something of God’s love at the same time. It’s amazing what God can do through his local church when we all stand together!
Written by Charlotte Ward from Kings Church Heathfield